Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
review by Jon Waterman
to take that trip once again to that magical world of Middle Earth. And
Saddam better watch out, because Frodo and all them other elf-like thingies
aren’t taking no for an answer. The quest continues to get to
Mordor so they can destroy the all-powerful ring. Of course, Saruman
won’t let the good-doers get close without one hell of a fight.
We join our cast of thousands in the middle part of a really, really long story. All
the heroes are divided from the last flick. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam
(Sean Astin) are wandering around trying to get to that giant melting pot on
the other side of the border (insert immigration joke here). Along the
way they pick up an extremely ugly talking puppy named Smeagol (Andy Serkis)
to guide them. Of course, he’s probably the best character in there. 12
year old girls would protest this, since they are all swooning after Aragorn
(Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom). Both of them, along with
their hairy and stumpy puppy, Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), are trekking the country
and searching for everyone else. Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy
Boyd) escape the Orcs (as themselves) and become one with nature by befriending
the tree creatures called Ents (interestingly, also played by the Orcs). Together,
they separately fight/sit and talk to beat Saruman (Christopher Lee) and his
giant Orc army.
Okay. All plot description aside, this installment didn’t really
thrill me as much. Consider me indifferent towards the trilogy once again. The
movie was good. It was a good movie. If I had to pick one word to
describe the movie, I would pick the word "good." Perhaps my
vocabulary needs to be expanded. However, that’s what it is. Not
The acting seemed worse. I couldn’t get into the characters again,
because I felt like they forced it too much. Everyone is included in this
lot. The worst offenders being the CGI characters. Voice acting does
not mean you have to overcompensate for your lack of face time by giving a cartoony
performance. It is possible to be just a voice and still do a nice, understated
and purposeful job.
The CGI stuff looked better this time around. Most was still unnatural,
but Smeagol essentially wowed me. The interaction with Frodo and Sam went
smoothly and the detail in the facial reactions worked better than imagined. If
I were to change anything about the character…I would give him smaller
eyes. If anything made him look fake, it was the eyes. Granted, I
don’t know the book, so if that’s what the description calls for,
then I retract my statement. I’m just saying. Geez. Leave
me alone. Send all hate mail to email@example.com. As
for the rest, some of the movements clunked along, but what else can be done
when there are thousands of artificial life forms on the screen taking up hard-drive
space somewhere. I guess my point is that I see a great improvement in
the effects over the previous film.
Let’s hear it for Peter Jackson (director and co-writer) for keeping the
unique visual style so apparent in the first movie. Not hard to do when
you film them all at the same time, but still. I would also like to congratulate
him on letting humans put on Orc suits for the fight scenes. It made them
that much more fun to watch.
Speaking of which, they sure were fun to watch. The editing left something
to be desired sometimes, like knowing what was going on, but watchers can’t
be editors. Boy, but they sure were fun to watch.
One more quick point to touch on, then you’ll be rid of me. The humor
in the script turned me off to the film. Gimli all of a sudden became a
joke factory instead of a respectable character of differing height. The
Ents were also given their “moments.” I didn’t come to
laugh, I came to be amazed. How could I be amazed when I was stunned at
the inappropriate comic relief.
Overall, if you’re a fan, you’ll love it, of course. If you’re
not, you may not enjoy it as much, but you’ll still have a good time. Especially
the last hour and a half or so. Fighting = good. Tell your parents
Jon said so. No. Tell them it was Joe.